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Prisons and Drugs Essay

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THE BECKLEY FOUNDATION DRUG POLICY PROGRAMME

Prisons and Drugs: A global review of incarceration, drug use and drug services

Kate Dolan, Effat Merghati Khoei, Cinzia Brentari, Alex Stevens June 2007

REPORT TWELVE

Report 12

1

Prisons and Drugs: A global review of incarceration, drug use and drug services
Kate Dolan, Effat Merghati Khoei, Cinzia Brentari, Alex Stevens

The Beckley Foundation Drug Policy Programme (BFDPP) is an initiative dedicated to providing a rigorous, independent review of the effectiveness of national and international drug policies. The aim of this programme of research and analysis is to assemble and disseminate material that supports the rational consideration of complex drug policy issues, and leads to a more effective management of the widespread use of psychoactive substances in the future. The BFDPP currently chairs the International Drug Policy Consortium (www.idpc.info), a global network of NGOs and professional networks who work together to promote objective debate around national and international drug policies, and provide advice and support to governments in the search for effective policies and programmes.

1. Introduction
Prisons play an important role in drug policy. They are used to punish people who break drug laws and they also hold a large number of people who have experience of drug use and drug problems. They therefore have an important part to play in attempts to reduce the harm caused by drugs. Imprisonment itself can be seen as one type of harm, as it causes problems for prisoners and their families and creates a large financial burden for taxpayers. These harms and costs are difficult to calculate, but there is little evidence that large scale imprisonment of drug offenders has had the desired results in deterring drug use or reducing drug problems (BewleyTaylor, Trace, & Stevens, 2005). In this paper, we examine the international prevalence of drug users, drug use and related problems in prisons...

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